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History of Armenian Red Cross Society


 

 

 

Red Cross humanitarian mission started activities in Armenia back in 1877, when in the Erivan province Finnish Red Cross hospitals were established, as well as in 1896, when American Red Cross volunteer Clara Barton was providing assistance to Armenian population doomed to disaster under Ottoman Turkish rule.

 

Red Cross history shows that in a chronological sense formation of National Societies very often coincides with the country's being in a military actions, and this is logical, because the Red Cross was originally designed to urgently assist sick and wounded soldiers. In this regard the formation of the Armenian Red Cross Society was not an exception.

 

1920 ...It was a difficult period of time for the country, fight for independence. On the one hand poor agriculture and industry, on the other hand, war that resulted many refugees from Western Armenia. Hunger, squalor, disease, mottled, typhoid, cholera, malaria, dysentery were taking many lives.

 

And regardless of the fact, that numerous and diverse problems facing the newly independent state, to have such a structure as the Red Cross was not so easy, however, a group of social workers with the help of doctor, scientist, public figure Spandarat Kamsarakan, established Armenian Red Cross National Society. On 19 March in 1920 Parliament of the First Republic of Armenia approved the charter and the company was named as "Red Cross Society of Armenia ".

 

From the first day of its existence, the newly established Red Cross Society of Armenia, despite limited conditions, started the difficult task of healing the sufferings. With minor conditions the company managed to open a hospital in Keshishkend (now Eghegnadzor), medical point and grocery in Norashen. Red Cross activists did a lot in the battlefront, where they had delivered invaluable aid to sick and wounded soldiers.

 

However, Red Cross Society of Armenia, as well as the independent Republic of Armenia, did not have a long life. On 29 of November in 1920 The Soviet regime was established, and as number of institutions in independent Armenia, Red Cross Society of Armenia also has temporarily stopped its activities.

 

On 15 October in 1921, the Council of People's Commissars signed an agreement, according to which Armenia Red Cross Society activities were marked as very important, and was decided to resume the activities of the Society. And in May 1922 the charter of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) Red Cross Society was again reaffirmed and decided for the support of the activities and its regulations of the company to provide 5% of a general tax, 15% of foreign passports formulations, 2% of the income of leisure facilities and donations received from abroad.

 

Thus, with the use of government patronage and public and trade union organizations support, Armenian Soviet Red Cross Society first began to work by organizing material aid for refugees and orphans. It helped to immigrants refugees from Turkey, orphans, and by its own means opened orphanages for 100 children in Yerevan and Ejmiatsin, children's health care services, opened clinics and hospitals. Great achievements for the company were the first nursing courses, later was created a two-year nursing school.

 

In 1925 creates the Soviet Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Association, which represents the interests of National Societies before the Soviet government, coordinates various activities of companies within its composition. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of Soviet Union consisted of Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Armenian Red Cross Societies and Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan Red Crescent Societies.

 

The Great Patriotic War broke the rhythm of life. The frontline and fight back were fighting with the "everything for front, everything for victory" slogan. During all years of war Armenia Red Cross Society has provided an invaluable service for the protection of the country and sick and wounded soldiers. The company supported immigrant families and orphaned children. Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers were helping the wounded, taking care of orphans health and education. Thousand members of the company were taking part in the volunteer works.

After the end of the war new problems appeared. It was necessary to strengthen the company and help healthcare bodies, engross the ranks of donors, to help the citizens to find relatives that were lost during the war. ARCS members many worthy things have done, and many of them were awarded. The company had about six hundred thousand members; it means that every fourth citizen of Republic was a member of the Red Cross Society.

 

 December of 1988 ... The earthquake struck around the world, 25,000 dead, 19,000 wounded, destroyed homes, schools and hospitals. Earthquake destroyed 40% of Armenia's territory of about 1 million population. In the evening of December 8 the first plane of Red Cross arrived to Armenia.

 

The earthquake in 1988 left its unprecedented impact on ARCS restructuring and development. In the disaster zone began major humanitarian investments. A lot of international humanitarian organizations began their activities in Armenia.

 

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (that time - League), in particular, did its most contribution concerning the disaster during its entire existence. Huge activities showed Soviet Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Union, which with its relief programs, one of the firsts rushed to the disaster zone. Number of Red Cross National Societies started participate quite active. These and other similar organizations carried out their activities through Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS).

 

Just 10 days after the earthquake, was made a decision to build the post-traumatic rehabilitation center in Yerevan that will serve for disabled people suffering from spinal injuries. In August of 1992 the new center putted into operation-equipped with modern facilities, with the highest international standards, the only one in the former Soviet Union, which was built by the help of Red Cross 26 National Societies and 6 governments.

The center continues its work till today, where a lot of disabled have received and continue to receive treatment. Now the main activities of the center are spinal cord, spine, treatment of diseases of the locomotive apparatus, general and posttraumatic recovery, patient’s vocational training, psychosocial rehabilitation, sanatorium-spa treatment. It also takes a huge amount of work for teaching the disabled craft. These activities help the disabled integrate into society as quickly as possible and become its full members.

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